Positives as grain and oilseed prices hold and fertiliser falls

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One week on from the first week of trading since Easter and the latest AHDB Grain Market Report shows little change with grain and oilseed prices.

Grain prices lost a little on the gains of the previous week. UK feed wheat futures (May-24) stand at £171.00/t. The Nov-24 contract also dipped slightly over the same period at 194.50/t but both are above where they entered the month.

The market is still dominated by Black Sea trade with Russian strikes in southern Ukraine. Investors have also adjusted positions ahead of the release of US inflation data (LSEG).

Despite losses in the US soyabean market yesterday, concerns over dryness in the Canadian Prairies ahead of canola plantings have supported rapeseed markets. Rapeseed prices fared well with respectable gains over the first week of April.

May-24 Paris rapeseed futures stand at €453.25/t, the Nov-24 contract was also up, currently at €466.75/t.

Mild winter helps push fertiliser prices down

The latest GB fertiliser prices from AHDB reveal spot prices for nitrogen fertiliser fell in March.

Imported AN (34.5%) for spot delivery in March averaged £342/t, down from £347/t a month earlier. This is still above pre-Ukraine war and energy crisis levels. UK-produced ammonium nitrate (AN, 34.5%) averaged £339/t in March for spot delivery, down from £384/t in November (the last available price), and down from £465/t a year earlier, but again historically remains high.

MOP and DAP prices also saw monthly declines, averaging £370/t and £571/t respectively for spot delivery. On the other hand, TSP saw a slight (£1/t) increase in March compared to February.

UK natural gas prices have edged downwards since the start of the new year, with a mild winter leaving European natural gas stocks at record high levels (Gas Infrastructure Europe). Campaigns to reduce energy use, as well as industrial closures across Europe have also contributed to the high stocks.

With ample domestic gas supplies to cover demand, natural gas futures, in the short-term at least, look to remain pressured. However, global markets remain reactive to news on the conflict in the Black Sea and Middle East.

Lower natural gas prices have filtered through to GB AN fertiliser prices. As such, if natural gas futures remain subdued, it’s likely that nitrogen fertiliser prices will follow. However, the UK remains exposed to global price movement, meaning any support globally could be felt in domestic markets.

Conflict in the Black Sea region, as well as in the Middle East, remain watchpoints for global natural gas prices. Ukraine’s national oil and gas firm Naftogaz reported strikes had hit two underground storage facilities earlier this week (LSEG).

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